Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • January 2014
Written by  Kathi Bloy

“Pit Stop for Sherry”

Sherry Sturm has set a few goals for herself. One of the most important is to get through her current medical crisis so she can see the birth of her tenth grandchild, due in May. Amber Bahr, one of Sherry’ daughters, also has set a goal: to raise as much money as possible to help Sherry and her husband, Mike, pay mounting medical and living expenses.

“It’s been a trying few years,” Bahr said. “Mom was first diagnosed with breast cancer in her right breast in June 2000. Everything was going well until fall 2011.” When Sturm noticed another lump, this time in her left breast, doctors shrunk it with chemotherapy and then did a partial mastectomy. The family thought everything was fine until this past fall.

“On October 1, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer,” Bahr said. She had been experiencing headaches and, in September, thought she had vertigo. A trip to the doctor revealed brain cancer, and the doctor ordered radiation that same day. “When we found out in October that it had traveled down into her chest area,” Bahr said, “she started chemotherapy. We know for sure that her brain, liver, lungs and bones are affected.”

“It’s hard for her to accept everyone wanting to help her,” Bahr said, “because she’s always the one helping others. She’s very involved in her church, and she misses seeing her friends there every Sunday. She does a lot around the church, and I know they’re missing her, too.”

When Sturm had to quit work in September and the bills started mounting, she finally agreed to let Bahr head up a benefit for her. The “Pit Stop for Sherry,” a Celebration of Support put on with help from Community Benefit Tree (CBT), will take place on Saturday, February 15 at Tanner’s Bar and Grill in Kimberly from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

“I had no clue where to even start with anything,” Bahr said. “When we had our meeting with CBT, it was overwhelming for me. Heidi told us the order in which to do things and helped us each step of the way to know what to do next. Without their help and support I couldn’t have done this.”

“Every time I have a question, I email them, and they get right back to me. They also have a lot of the supplies that we need for the benefit. I really worried about where to get raffle tickets and other things like that.”

Sturm got some extra help when the Pit Stop Bar and Grill in Kaukauna contacted Heidi Frederickson at Community Benefit Tree, wondering if she had a recipient who needed help. “We’re a big racing family,” Bahr said. Heidi told them she had the perfect recipient. The Pit Stop is doing a chili cook-off on Saturday, January 25, with part of the proceeds going to my mom’s medical expenses.”

“I’m excited to be working with CBT,” Bahr said. “They have all their ducks in a row. They know how these benefits work and which activities work well at an event. They really are helpful in raising as much money as possible. Obviously, people need it in times like this. We’re excited to have the benefit, to get all these people together and show my mom that there are other people in the world just like her that do care and are willing to help other people.”

Readers who are unable to attend either the chili cook-off or the Celebration of Support at Tanner’s Bar and Grill can contribute to Sturm’s “Pit Stop” at the CBT website, communitybenefittree.org. Click on Current Celebration of Support Events (COS) and then on Sherry Sturm. 

Community Benefit Tree, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, celebrates people’s lives and supports them during medical crises. They help families, friends and co-workers plan Celebration of Support events for their loved ones and provide education, support, resources and financial assistance for families struggling with medical crises. CBT has assisted with more than 450 Celebration of Support events in the last eight years. For more information, visit http://communitybenefittree.org or contact CBT staff at 920-422-1919.


Kathi Bloy is a freelance writer from Appleton.

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